The House Ways and Means Committee is considering the legislation on Wednesday.
“There’s no reason for Congress to wait until the last minute to extend these critical benefits, and risk a lapse in aid,” wrote Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at the foundation, noting that lawmakers should act two to four weeks ahead of the mid-March deadline to give state unemployment agencies time to process the new rules.
Still, the jobless rate in many states has declined since spiking last spring. This means fewer states are offering extended benefits, which trigger on during when joblessness is high, and is not good news for the long-term unemployed, who often have a harder time returning to the workforce.
Only about 734,000 workers, in just 12 states, would be able to receive state extended benefits in April if the two federal pandemic programs lapsed, according to The Century Foundation.
Economic hardship continues
Nearly a year into the pandemic, many Americans are still struggling to get by.
More than 24 million adults, or 11.2%, live in a household where there was sometimes or often not enough to eat over the past seven days, according to the most recent Census Household Pulse Survey, released Wednesday.
Also, more than 82 million adults, or more than one-third, live in households where it has been somewhat or very difficult to pay for usual household expenses during the pandemic, according to the survey, which was taken between January 20 and February 1.
And nearly 62 million adults, or about a quarter, expect a loss in employment income over the next four weeks.